This is not the best of time for landlords in some parts of the Elioparanwo axis, off Rufus Ada-George in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State, as many of them are losing their tenants in droves because of constant power blackouts, occasioned by the near zero supply of electricity to the area by the Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company (PHED).
A constant feature of most of the beautiful houses located within the serene Mini-Orlu Market/Justus Ojika area of Elioparanwo was display of “Flats to let” as most of the buildings had been deserted, even as some of the landlords who spoke with InsideNigerDelta said some of the tenants, fed up with the acute poor power supply, had left, while new tenants refused to pack in after getting wind of the situation in the area.
One of the affected landlords on Chijioke Amadi Street, Chief Ifeanyi Odion, said a committee was formed in the past with the aim of improving electricity supply in the place and pointed out that the committee tried its best to change the situation to no avail, adding that the committee had since become non-functional.
He said two of his tenants left his house after they complained of spending half of their earnings on fuel and generator repairs and further disclosed that PHED was always distributing electricity to the street and other adjoining streets sharing the same line three times in a month, and especially in the dead of the night.
“If you look at almost the houses on this street, you will see sign posts with inscriptions like, ‘Two bedroom flat to let’. But nobody is coming in as tenant because they are aware of the poor electricity supply here.
“Before the end of the month, the PHED people will bring in their huge bill and we will pay because we have the hope that the situation will change from bad to good. We have been experiencing this anomaly for about three years now, yet the NEPA (PHED) officials have done nothing”, he said.
A landlady on neighbouring Chibiak Street, who simply identified herself as Madam Justina, expressed sadness that the only tenant in her compound packed out when she went for the burial of her father in Edo State.
The middle-aged woman disclosed that the tenant, who had earlier complained about the almost absence of electricity on the street, had not been able to pay his rent for one and half years.
“It was not long I came back from my father’s burial and noticed that my tenant, who was owing me rent for 18 months has packed out. It is painful that the man refused to pay me. You can imagine a man that is owing this much would put on his generator for many hours in the night, even when me, the landlady was not buoyant enough to leave my generator on for a long time”, she said.
Speaking with the Inside Niger Delta, Mr Adewale Ojo, a journalist with one of the Port Harcourt-based radio stations, said he would not renew his rent after expiration in August, adding that he would rather relocate from the area.
“It is better I move to a place where I will enjoy a reasonable level of power supply than stay here. We know the country is facing some challenges in the power sector, but we still have many areas that enjoy eight hours electricity supply every day. Here we get electricity three times a month and it comes in the night.
Another tenant, Ese Amadi who is the wife of an oil company worker, told InsideNigerDelta that there was no going back on the decision by her family to soon relocate from their current residence, even when their tenancy would not expire until next February.
When contacted, an official of PHED admitted that some areas at the Elioparanwo axis of Ada-George Road had been experiencing acute power shortage for more than three years. He however put the blame of the situation in the area on the vandalisation of their facilities located in Elioparanwo, adding that measures had been put in place to replace the vandalised installations.